Welcome to fellow Evernight Author S.J. Maylee, here to talk about her new book “Taking Chances” (The Love Projects #1).
Lydia’s father walked away from her when she was eight. She’s struggled to not let him affect her, but fears she wasn’t loveable enough to make him stay. Jake wants to love one woman, but after scaring the last woman he met outside of the club, he doubts he has the right. She protects her heart by sticking with her fantasies, and he lives by a set of rules that excludes women who choose a vanilla lifestyle.
The two will be kept in a conference room working together until their special project is complete. If Lydia and Jake hold tight to their bland lives, they’ll always yearn for love that is out of reach. But together they can find common ground, passion, and a reason to take chances. Once they discover the grand possibilities of the love they desire, they find themselves in the very place they tried never to be again, facing unguaranteed love.
Lydia’s boss stared the team down. She squirmed in her seat and worked to contain her fidget. The glower she recognized. Mr. Keller’s fiery gaze swept over every person in the conference room. Praying he would skim right past her, she shrank a smidge in her seat. The transition to their new product management database had bombed. He wanted someone to blame.
The team worked hard, and yet dozens of things had gone wrong, but no one deserved to get chucked under the bus. Politics was never a strong suit for Lydia, and neither was talking in front of a group. Who would enjoy sweating profusely and forgetting all words except ah and um?
The threat of humiliation fired through her, making her eager for a solution. If she could figure out a way to shift the meeting away from the possibility of someone getting fired, she’d relax. An idea rolled about in her head, but not even a drop of courage lingered within her reach.
“Keller, the policies and procedures need strength and substance if we’re going to move forward as a team with our new system.” Jake pushed back from the table.
She needed to add mind-reading to the list of Jake’s gifts. She’d had the exact idea. It wasn’t the first time he offered a solution she’d been contemplating. It often left her with the idea they’d get along well, which was ludicrous. Men like Jake didn’t pay attention to a woman like Lydia. Hesitation was more her style, and it certainly wasn’t Jake’s. As a department director, he made things happen, and along the way he intimidated the heck out of her.
Of course she’d never been alone in a room with Jake, never even had a casual conversation. Fortunately, he never sought her out. Whenever Jake neared, her pulse raced, and naughty ideas filled her mind. Her fascination with him had started on her first day with the company over a year ago.
The sidewalks had been a mess of snow and ice in front of their building that morning. She’d picked style over practicality in shoes and was rewarded with a slip and fall, flat on her butt. Jake had helped her up. He’d placed her purse strap in one hand and held the other while he asked if she was okay. Embarrassment might have flared through her, but his gaze had melted her, and she hadn’t been able to think straight in his presence since.
He made her aware of her body, the way it heated and awakened. It wasn’t the chiseled cheek bones, or his tall lean body that had to be fit as a Navy Seal. Okay, maybe in her fantasies it was heaven to grab onto his thick neck and shoulders. When Jake was around, she either got lost in a fantasy or felt like a teenager worrying about her hair being flat, smudged mascara, or worse things. What if he saw her nipples hardening? Luckily for her they worked in two different departments and didn’t find themselves with the need to talk to each other.
If she could get to know him she wouldn’t suffer so much. Most people had issues, and if she could find his she wouldn’t be so intimidated. She had a long history of finding flaws in people. First with her dad, she had been eight when he left. She led a lonely existence and wore it like an armor, and it stopped her from being let down.
“I think you’re onto something.” Boss man Keller usually agreed with Jake.
Disappointment ticked at her ragged nerves. Once again someone else was getting credit for an idea she couldn’t voice.
For Keller to ever agree with her, she’d have to have the audacity to speak about her own ideas. Until she had the guts to offer her own opinion there would be no recognition, no advancement. Soon it would be time to go back to her familiar little box, a place she usually thought of as comfortable, a place made easy to hold onto her armor.
“I’d like you to head the team on this.” Keller inclined his head toward Jake. “Pick one of the technical writers from this table, lock yourselves in a room, and get it done. I want a report tomorrow, my office, ten o’clock.” He stomped from the room and took another opportunity to sneer at each of them.
The room, without Keller’s presence, grew eerily quiet.
All attention turned to Jake. He towered over them as they waited for the chosen partner to be selected. Whispers bubbled up around her.
A door slammed down the hall, probably Keller letting off some steam. She didn’t want to think about Keller. She desperately wanted to fill her mind with one idea, that she could be the technical writer Jake chose. He could choose her.
She blocked out her surroundings, peeled back her protective layer and allowed herself to feel. She bit her lower lip and sucked it into her mouth. She could be locked in a room with Jake. Her mouth dried, and her heart pounded. She took another look at Jake and drank in his dark features and the muscles she imagined hidden under his blue collared shirt. A fantasy, starring the infamous Jake, filled her imagination.
He sauntered around the table and stopped at her chair. His hand took hold of hers, and he pulled her into his strong arms. Once he settled her bottom on the table, he stepped in between her thighs. As he devoured her mouth in eager kisses, he popped the buttons on her blouse, unclasped her bra, and exposed her. Powerful hands molded her breasts. She let her needy body fall to the table to give him access to every inch of her.
The fantasy was in full swing now. Jake shouted her name. Oh, her name sounded sinful on his lips.
“Lydia!” someone shouted.
Something pushed her elbow, and it fell awkwardly from the table, releasing her from her inner thoughts. Everyone at the table stared her way.
“Thanks for rejoining us. Clear your calendar, and meet me back here in a half hour.” Jake locked his gaze with hers.
“Yes, Sir … I mean, okay, I’ll be here.”
She couldn’t handle his powerful expression and dropped her stare to the table. It was too intense, him standing there like an unyielding statue. Had she said something wrong? Before an idea could enter her mind, he stormed from the room. The rest of her department followed him like nothing tremendous happened. Just like that, they went on with their day, talking about lunch plans and other mundane things. Lydia, on the other hand, couldn’t move.
It had been a split second, but his eyes had narrowed in on her and dimmed to a shade darker than black. It was intimidating, but she desperately wanted to see it again. She should slap herself or pinch her arm. She was at work. This wasn’t a time for fantasies.
GIVEAWAY: To celebrate her debut, SJ is hosting a giveaway for a $10 Amazon Gift Card!
S.J. MAYLEE BIO:
S. J. Maylee fell in love with storytelling at a young age and with it came a deep-seated desire for everyone to find their happily ever after. She’s finding the happy endings for her characters one steamy story at a time.
When she’s not reading or writing, you can find her caring for her garden, laughing with her two young sons, or dancing to her husband’s music. She’s a PMP (Project Management Professional), Nia instructor, and coffee addict.
As a writer she has a tendency to break hearts, but she always glues them back together.
Who is Lydia Taylor?
I adore the development of a story. Following people while they fall in love is a fascinating experience. Seeing a character change over time is one of my absolute favorites. Lydia may look to be simply a shy character that just needs to come out of her shell, but there’s so much more.
Once I put Jake in her path, a man that’s her match in every way, you’ll find the cracks in her veneer. She’s not just shy. She’s made herself this way purely out of protection. Jake offers her glimpses into the life and a love she desperately craves and it’s that chance she can’t deny.
I adore Lydia and I hope you will too.